New Zealand Defense Chief Admits Afghan civilian death

The New Zealand’s Chief of Defense has accepted that a three-year-old girl was likely killed during a 2010 New Zealand Special Forces (SAS) raid in Afghanistan.

Air Marshal Kevin Short grudgingly told the Operation Burnham inquiry on October 18 that it “appears” the girl, Fatima, was killed.

He agreed that the Defense Force (NZDF) did nothing for other civilians who may have been injured.
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The niggardly and limited admission, which came near the end of the inquiry’s final public hearing, was the first by the NZDF, which has responded with hostility and blanket cover-ups to long-standing allegations surrounding the raid.

To an “audible gasp” from the inquiry’s public gallery, Short declared that “not all” civilian deaths were war crimes and claimed the NZDF only targeted armed fighters.

Although the defense chief maintained that it was “not proven” civilians were killed and injured during the raid, he confirmed under questioning that the NZDF had never looked for any evidence.

Short’s admission followed a statement to the inquiry by former National Party Defence Minister Wayne Mapp, who said that he knew of “possible” civilian deaths, but at the time decided not to tell then Prime Minister John Key or the public.

While minister in 2011, Mapp told media that an internal NZDF investigation had “proven false” any allegations of civilian deaths.

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Latest from Newsfeed; Monday, October 28 2019